Hard-hit Thomson church fighting to recover after storms

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March 8, 2007

THOMSON, Ga.---Seven days later and still, some Thomson church services are limited due to storm damage. Among them is New Hope Baptist Church off Highway 150.

Because some of the damage was so severe, the church is having to scale back its services. We went by on Wednesday (March 7) to see how they were doing.

On any other Wednesday night, the church would be filled with the sounds of children singing.

"Normal for us is not going to be normal for a while," said Pastor Allen Holbrook after days of working relentlessly on patching up his church...

In some spots, March 1's tornado left gaping holes in the roof...and in other spots, there's no roof at all.

Even after multiple trips to the dump, pieces of New Hope Baptist Church still litter the hallways. Perhaps the most extensive damage was done to its rear ceilings.

"We're looking at months and, you know, thousands of dollars worth of damage," Pastor Holbrook said.

Volunteers have cleared many items out of the church. There's still no electricity in the kitchen, and on the outside, twisted metal, broken glass, and even cracked concrete litter the area.

But as powerful as the whipping winds were to snap steel and break beams, there may have been an even greater power put to work that night.

"The unique thing was we had a prayer group going, and they'd been praying through the building. And the part of the building that hadn't been prayed through yet was this part back here."

Amazingly, all seven members of the prayer group escaped without a single scratch.

"It's going to unify our church and cause us to appreciate again more of what we're here for and our purpose," Holbrook said.

The church does have access to its sanctuary. It was unharmed, so their regular Sunday services are still on. But the Wednesday night supper, Bible study, and children's choir will be limited pending repairs.

No word yet on how much all this will cost.

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